Karla Gilbert is an accredited Nutrition and Health Coach, and a mum of two girls. As a busy mum herself, she shares her top tips on taking time out to practice self-care.
The past couple of years have been tough on all parents. Aside from juggling working from home, home-schooling, and house chores, we have to be strong at all times for our children. During these times, the first thing to slide is usually our own well-being.
Mother’s Day is upon us again. Although it is nice to be spoilt by our children and partners for a day, it really shouldn’t be limited to a once-a-year event. Self-care is valuable and shouldn’t be mistaken for self-indulgence or being selfish. It simply means taking care of yourself so you could spare the capacity to care for others.
Let this Mother’s Day be a timely reminder to take some time for yourself. You may only have a few minutes a day, but never underestimate the power of taking advantage of nourishing the soul and engaging in whatever it is that fills your cup.
Here are some of my favourite low to no-cost ideas to help get you started:
Go back to your favourite physical activities
Before children entered the picture, what activities did you enjoy doing? Look around your garage or shed for that one thing that you always intend on returning to. Dust off that bike, wax up your surfboard, or throw the yoga mat out and invest in quality “me time”. Having the ability to focus on the here and now without being distracted could enable us to contemplate the future with intention and positivity.
Give yourself a chance to commit to your favourite physical activity again. You will find that it helps you release that much-needed feel-good endorphin and enhance your sense of well-being. Sweating for a few more minutes a day might help you feel less tired in the long run!
Enjoy a mindful moment, even if it’s just 5 minutes
Speaking of a few more minutes, how about taking a new task from now on – a 5-minute daily ritual? Surely you have earned that for yourself by now!
Spend 5 minutes a day on the daily wordle challenge, trying out a different type of coffee, engaging in a guided meditation or writing your gratitude journal. The purpose is to actively and consciously spend a few minutes a day doing something that makes you feel happy, no matter how brief that moment is.
While you enjoy a mindful moment for yourself, follow this simply Five Senses Exercise practice to help you relax.
Relax over a mini facial at home
Who doesn’t love being pampered? Facials are one of the most relaxing, refreshing and uplifting things you can do for yourself. The good news is – it doesn’t have to break the bank, or even involve a professional at all.
Start by creating a relaxing space at home. Soaking in a bubble bath paired with some candles and relaxing music doesn’t sound too bad, does it?
Next, cleanse your skin well and follow up with some nice steam. You don’t have one of those expensive face-steamers. Just hover over a bowl of freshly boiled water or soak a towel over hot water and place it over your face. This helps open up your pores for a deep clean. You can use whatever exfoliating products or deep cleaning mask, and finish up with moisturising and then a relaxing cup of herbal tea. Bliss.
Walking date with friends
Catching up with friends is a great way to engage in self-care. When it involves walking, it is like a double whammy of endorphin producing goodness!
As much as you love chatting to your 3-year-old, having adult conversations is important to help reduce feelings of isolation. Whether it was old friends from uni, colleagues, or other mums from playgroups, catch up with them regularly. Meet up for a coffee or a walk in the park. Make sure you shower each other with love and support, because we all rely on human interactions to feel sane.
Make a date with yourself and a book
Dust off that book that has been patiently waiting on the bedside table, or visit your local library and source a subject you enjoy reading about. They say a book is a device that lights the imagination so it’s a useful tool to help inspire action. Perhaps it’s a book on local hiking trails, travel, cooking, arts, or photography – the simple act of reading may be all you need to kickstart a new hobby or reason to take time for yourself.
Unplug, unwind, and just be
Quite often when the opportunity arises to do something for ourselves, we feel the need to be productive. Rescript this narrative and feeling of guilt and just be. Unplug from your phone, find a quiet place free from distraction and give yourself full permission to really connect to how you are feeling.
Maybe a 20-minute power nap would be super useful, or a guided meditation to help refocus and align your thoughts. Take a moment to recharge, check in and evaluate how you are feeling mentally, physically, and spiritually. This is so commonly overlooked but it’s without a doubt an important piece of our well-being architecture.
This Mother’s Day, make a promise to yourself that you’ll start adding moments of self-care time to your daily routine. It’s easy to become complacent, but we need to remember, being able to prioritise self-care not only has a positive impact on you but also has a flow-on effect on your partners and children.